Eichel earns hat trick in win over Blue Jackets

After crashing and burning against the Calgary Flames, the Golden Knights came into Sunday with a date against the Columbus Blue Jackets, where they followed a humiliating 7-2 loss with a rejuvenating 7-2 win. With Jiri Patera back in net for the Golden Knights, Jack Eichel helped the causse by scoring a hat trick alongside the four assists earned by Pietrangelo.

Kessel gets the Golden Knights on the board early

The start  of the firsts period was a showcase of Golden Knights offense wanting to set the narrative early. In the first two minutes, the offense saw at seven opportunities to get the goal in net. Kirill Marchenko would get the first Blue Jacket shot off with 2:07 gone by in the game.  The Golden Knights would not have to wait long before they got on the power play as Boone Jenner was called for tripping on Michael Amadio with 16:16 left. After a blocked Shea Theodore shot, a minute in, Phil Kessel got a shot past Tarasov to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead. Kessel’s power play goal was his 12th overall this season and it was assisted by Pavel Dorofeyev and Reilly Smith.

The majority of the period saw both teams taking turns on both sides of the ice including an opportunity by Brayden McNabb and Jonathan Marchessault with eight minutes left Tarasov did a solid job in the opening period where the score could have easily been three or four goals from the Golden Knights offensively. Vegas outshot the Blue Jackets by a 13-9 margin in the opening frame.

Golden Knights 1, Blue Jackets 0 – 1st Intermission

The Breakdown…

The good news for the Golden Knights is that they have a lead after the first period of play. The score could have easily been 4-0 if it wasn’t for Tarasov in net. The majority of the period looked like the Blue Jackets wanted to compete. They stood toe to toe with the Vegas offense and Patera was solid in net for the entire period. The more the Golden Knights crowd the net, the better chance the puck will fall.

Eichel doubles down on goals as Golden Knights open the flood gates

The second period did not exactly start as planned for the Golden Knights. Just 37 seconds in, the Blue Jackets tied the game at one a piece with a Marchenko goal The game-tying goal would be Marchenko’s 18th of the season. A couple minutes later, the Blue Jackets got another gift as the Golden Knights were called for too many men on the ice with 2:02 gone by in the period. The power play for the Blue Jackets was unsuccessful as the score remained tied.

Later in the period, the Golden Knights would get the lead back from the Blue Jackets as Eichel scored one past Tarasov for his 24th goal of the season. The goal came with 9:25 left to go in the second period and was assisted by Alec Martinez and Pietrangelo. After the ensuing faceoff, Boone Jenner was penalized for holding Barbasshev, putting the Golden Knights right back on the power play. Just over a minute into the man advantage, Pavel Dorofeyev got his third goal of the season to put Vegas up by two goals, The Dorofeyev goal was assisted again by Pietrangelo and Kessel.

Eichel, Marchessault

Mar 19, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel (9) celebrates with center Jonathan Marchessault (81) after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden Knight offense continued to be relentless throughout the period as the swarmed the net on a consistent basis. At the 16:24 mark, a Howden shot was saved but Tarasov but Zach Whitecloud batted it in off the rebound to move the needle to a three goal deficit. Less than 30 seconds later Eichel, off a Pietrangelo shot, grabbed his second goal of the night. In the second Eichel goal, Pietrangelo collected hiss third assist. After their game against the Flames, this is a welcome sight.

Golden Knights 5, Blue Jackets 1 – 2nd Intermission

The Breakdown..

After a game tying goal by the Blue Jackets, the Golden Knights not only looked like the better team, it looked like a team that was on a mission. Everything was firing on all cylinders and then some. Jack Eichel looks like he is having fun on the ice and it shows. The one thing that was can hope is that the foot is not taken off the gas pedal here. Anything can happen, especially in the NHL.

Eichel earns hat trick in third period

The third period started off with a continuation of the second period as the offense continued to put pressure on the Columbus goaltenders. In this case, former Golden Knight Michael Hutchinson was in net for the Blue Jackets. Hutchinson, who was sent to Columbus in the deal for Jonathan Quick, replaced Tarasov who allowed five goals after the first two period. At the 4:18 mark, coming off a rebound from a shot by Stephenson, Paul Cotter would get one past Hutchinson to make the game a 6-1 score. It was Cotter’s 15th of the season and it was assisted by Stephenson and Pietrangelo.

Later in the period, Howden provided another great chance with 13:09 left but Hutchinson was able to make the stop. A couple minutes later, Eichel would get a shot in net for a hat trick. The goal was assisted by Marchessault and Brayden McNabb to make the score a 7-1 affair in favor of the Golden Knights. It was Eichel’s 25th of the season and Pietrangelo’s fourth assist of the game itself.

The Blue Jackets generated some offense as the game started to wind down. and with 2:05 left Liam Foudy would get his fifth goal of the season off a pass from Marchenko and Patrik Laine.

Game notes

  • The win puts the Golden Knights record to a 43-21-6 mark with 92 points. They are two points in front of the Los Angeles Kings for the Pacific Division lead.
  • Jiri Patera had 35 saves on 37 Columbus shots. It is Patera’s second win since being called up from AHL Henderson.
  • The Golden Knights go back on the road for a three game Canadian western swing starting with the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
  • If the regular season ended after Sunday’s action, the Golden Knights would get the Winnipeg Jets in the first round. The Central Division leading Dallas Stars would get the Seattle Kraken.

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